‘Lift’ continues to be a very exciting story, and even though I expected tragedy to hit the Barret family along their journey to Denver, it still hit hard. It really has been a great move from Rucka to have ‘Waste’ characters to focus on alongside Forever.
Just like the previous 2 issues of this arc, the story here begins with a flashback to young Forever, where she asks her teacher Marisol about what it’s like to fight in a war. We then see the next stage in Eve’s training, which is to be caned to shit by Marisol in order to teach her how to withstand pain. Eve doesn’t cry a single tear during the ordeal, but afterwards, she cries when Marisol tells her that if her father orders Eve to kill her, she should. These flashbacks have been excellent, they provide a great deal of explanation for Forever’s present-day character, and they also do a great job at showing just how much of a bastard her father is.
Back in the present day, Eve tries to interrogate the girl she arrested last issue, Emma, who could very well be part of a Terrorist Cell. Eve knows this because Emma doesn’t have an identity chip inside her at all. Forever doesn’t have much luck with her questioning however, as she has no leverage. There is nothing that she can threaten Emma with because her family and the world they live in has already taken everything she ever had. Man, the world of this book is so fucked-up.
Even more fucked-up is what happens to the Barrets who stop for the night in the middle of Wyoming. Desperate to get away from her brother and his girlfriend’s horrendous PDA, Leigh heads out into the night to feed the horses, but she stumbles across a gang of wild criminals who want to kidnap the women and do unspeakable shit to them. A violent shoot-out begins, all of the criminals are killed, but Joe is injured in the shoulder, and Leigh is killed. We’ve only known these characters for 3 issues, but this was still a very emotional scene that again showcases the unjustness of this world. The Barrets have risked a lot to try and be Lifted, and already it looks like it wasn’t worth it. The family ride on, with Joe seriously injured, but they soon come across a sign of civilisation, but it’s not a good sign. They find the convoy of other Waste heading to Denver and it’s stretching 102 miles from the city. Yeah, I don’t think they’ll have much luck.
Back with Forever, we see that she’s beginning a process of weeding out corruption in Los Angeles. She’s brought in Sgt Orioso, who appeared in the first arc, and promoted him to Commander of the LA Garrison. We already know that Johanna is up to no good, so it makes sense for Forever to bring in someone from outside her circle, someone Eve can trust. For as dodgy as Johanna is, she does have her uses, as we see her taking a crack at talking to Emma. She takes a different tack to Eve, and instead offers her, and her family a chance to be Lifted and become Serfs, she could become a dancer, or even an actress, as long as she can offer useful information. I’m surprised that Eve didn’t think of trying something like this before, but I suppose I can buy it, Johanna is probably bending the rules here. We don’t see Emma actually give anything up, but you can bet it’s coming.
Michael Lark’s artwork is still excellent, he really grounds the science fiction elements, and brings you right into the mindset of the characters. Thanks to his realistic art, it all feels very real, and that’s why the tragic scenes with the Barret family work so well. I also really liked the silent page that showed the various stages of the Barret’s journey. Rucka doesn’t need to use words here. This title is just awesome right now, you should all be reading it!